What Is Pityriasis Alba

Pityriasis Alba Symptoms

Round patches of lightened skin covered with fine scales. Pityriasis Alba tends to appear on the face. It is most common in children and adolescents but also occurs in adulthood.

Can Adults Get Pityriasis Alba

Pityriasis alba is prevalent worldwide, particularly among children, with an approximate prevalence of 5% in this age group.

It primarily affects children and adolescents aged 3 to 16 years, although occurrences in individuals outside this age range have been reported. Both boys and girls are equally susceptible to the condition. The hypopigmentation associated with pityriasis alba tends to be more noticeable in individuals with darker skin tones compared to those with lighter skin tones.

Although pityriasis alba primarily affects children and adolescents, adults can also develop this condition. While less common in adults, it is still possible for individuals outside the typical age range of 3 to 16 years to experience pityriasis alba. The condition may present similarly in adults, with hypopigmented patches on the skin, particularly on the face and arms. However, the prevalence of pityriasis alba tends to decrease with age.

What Causes Pityriasis Alba

The cause of pityriasis alba remains unknown.

It often coexists with dry skin and atopic dermatitis. Sun exposure may exacerbate symptoms, possibly due to the contrast in skin pigmentation between affected and unaffected areas.

Researchers have not conclusively determined the relationship between pityriasis alba and factors such as:

  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Excessive or inadequate bathing
  • Low levels of serum copper and other trace elements
  • Malassezia yeasts, which produce a metabolite called pityriacitrin that inhibits tyrosinase, potentially contributing to hypopigmentation.

How To Cure Pityriasis Alba

Treatment for asymptomatic pityriasis alba is typically unnecessary. However, for those seeking relief from dryness or mild symptoms, the following options may be considered:

  • Moisturizing cream: Applying a moisturizing cream can help improve the dry appearance of the skin.
  • Topical steroid: A mild topical steroid, such as 0.5-1% hydrocortisone, may be used to reduce redness and itchiness if present.
  • Calcineurin inhibitors: Medications like pimecrolimus cream and tacrolimus ointment have shown effectiveness comparable to hydrocortisone. They have been reported to hasten the recovery of skin color in some cases.

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Pityriasis Alba Prevention

Good emollients or lotions may help to make pityriasis alba less apparent.


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